By now you will have probably heard about destructive tropical Cyclone Winston which tore through Fiji over the weekend. Winds of up to 330 kilometres per hour lashed the small island nation leaving in its wake damage, devastation and death. At the time of publication, the death toll has risen to 29 and thousands more are without food, water and shelter. Our hearts are with the people of Fiji, who have once again displayed their characteristic strong sense of community, resilience and sunny disposition in the face of Mother Nature’s worst.
Is Your Holiday Affected?
We are pleased to report that all our customers and suppliers are safe, and our first priority is assisting our customers who are currently in Fiji to return home as well as assisting our customers who are due to travel to Fiji in the next few days. The north coast of Viti Levu appears to have been hit the hardest, however initial reports indicate that many resorts have not been damaged. We are working through a list of our customers to contact and will be able to advise you as new information is released, however if you are concerned about your travel plans, you can email your consultant or call 1300 883 887.
Flights are back up and running and the main tourist areas of Nadi, Denarau, the Coral Coast, Pacific Harbour and Suva are all fine. While resorts in this area required some clean up after the storm, no damage has been reported and they are operating as usual. Transfers and cruises are also fully operational including day cruises and dinner cruises. Some of the smaller, outer-lying islands have been more seriously affected including the Mamanucas, Yasawa Islands and resorts in the north. Communications are difficult with some parts of Fiji right now and in other areas they are still down completely however, at the time of publication, the affected resorts are as follows.
• Treasure Island – expected opening 14 March 2016
• Vomo Island Resort – to advise, expected opening 1 April 2016
• Mana Island Resort – sustained severe damage, closed until the 28th of July 2016
• Castaway Island – closed until further notice
• Yasawa Island Resort & Spa – communications down
• Qamea Resort & Spa – open
• Matangi Island Resort – closed, expected opening 22 March 2016
• Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort – closed, communications difficult and still assessing damage
• Paradise Taveuni – communications down
• Koro Sun Resort – still determining damage
What Do I Do Now?
If your holiday is affected, we have probably already been in touch however we are still working through the backlog of queries and concerns. Your consultant will offer you a number of options including changing your dates, changing resorts or cancelling if you prefer. We are still bound by the cancellation policies of each property; however we have been working with many of them to waive any fees associated with this. We are helping everyone on a case-by-case basis and are working with each client to see what options suit them best.
Some hotels are still charging cancellation or amendment fees if clients do wish to change their dates, and we have been helping with the necessary paperwork to try and make a claim through their insurance providers where necessary. If your holiday is affected, you will need to contact your insurance provider to see if this event is something that will be covered under their policy if your holiday plans have been impacted.
We appreciate your patience and understanding during this terrible time for the people of Fiji.
How Can I Help?
While some parts of Fiji are suffering, there are still large parts of the island that are unaffected. The best way to help the people of Fiji to get back on their feet is to keep any travel plans you may have had to visit the island, or better yet book a holiday Fiji. It’s not just right now that Fiji will need you, but in the weeks and months that follow the clean up. The friendly people of Fiji rely on the tourist trade and a drop in holidays to Fiji would only be another blow to their economy. If you are visiting, you can also help by taking with you any donations of clothes, toys and school supplies such as books and pencils. Despite the debris, the children still laugh and play and the people of Fiji will be so happy to see you – the smiles on their faces say it all.